Next-Generation Boron-Crosslinked Fracturing Fluids: Breaking the Lower Limits on Polymer Loadings
- Jeremy Holtsclaw (Halliburton) | Gladys Rocío Montenegro Galindo (Halliburton) | Prashant Chopade (Halliburton)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Production & Operations
- Publication Date
- November 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 440 - 448
- 2017.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- fracturing fluid, low residue polymer, high pressure testing, proppant transport, boron-crosslinked
- 10 in the last 30 days
- 311 since 2007
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Hydraulic fracturing is a robust stimulation technique that has been used for more than 60 years to help increase the recovery rate of hydrocarbons from reservoirs. Hydraulic-fracturing fluids are key components of the process. Significant efforts have been made to refine the fluids and advance new technology to help improve the economics, efficiency, and safety of the systems. Specifically, the pursuit of fluids that provide reliable and consistent performance while using lower concentrations of polymer, usually guar or a guar derivative, has been a recurrent point of emphasis in fracturing-fluid advancement. There are many advantages of using lower polymer concentrations, including lower costs, improved logistics, and introducing less polymer with its associated residues into the fracture, among others.
This paper presents a new fracturing fluid that combines a next-generation boron crosslinker with a new hydroxypropyl guar (HPG) to be crosslinked with 40 to 60% less polymer than used in conventional borate-crosslinked fluids. For this fluid, HPG loadings in the range of 8 to 12 lbm/1,000 gal were used to produce boron-crosslinked stimulation fluids stable up to 200°F. Fluid-viscosity testing showed stable fracturing fluids with controlled breaking profiles at temperatures up to 180°F. Dynamic proppant-suspension testing indicated that the new fracturing fluid exhibited proppant transport equal to or better than conventional borate fluids. Regained-permeability testing with Berea sandstone cores exceeded 75% at 160°F, 85% at 180°F, and 95% at 200°F. In addition, excellent fluid cleanup was measured by retained proppant-pack conductivity with 2 lbm/ft2 of 20/40-mesh lightweight ceramic proppant.
This new boron-crosslinked fluid retains the “rehealable” property and flexibility of conventional borate-crosslinked fluids; however, the polymer is crosslinked at or near the minimum concentration at which the polymer chains can entangle (and are capable of crosslinking), which is an improvement compared with conventional borate fluids. This concentration is known as the critical overlap concentration, c*, of the polymer. The use of the new crosslinking technology coupled with the new HPG allows for a two-fold advantage in terms of residue reduction. The derivatized polymer requires additional processing, yielding a cleaner polymer with less residue, and the lower polymer dosage results in a further reduction of residue compared with conventional fluids.
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